Social divisions within society underpin the notion of diversity. They include social class, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation and disability. Social divisions help us to understand how society functions and our place within it at any particular time. They are associated with hierarchies of power and subsequent access to material and social goods. For instance, people of high socioeconomic status will usually have a high income which will give them access to private education and health care and enable them to go on expensive foreign holidays. These goods are, in contrast, unlikely to be available to people of low socioeconomic status who may struggle to obtain a basic standard of living. Social diversity is often viewed in positive terms, for instance job advertisements may state that diversity is welcomed or that a diverse workforce is needed. However, people who belong to certain social groups, for instance disabled people, old people and people from ethnic minorities, may experience prejudice (hostile attitudes) and discrimination (unfavourable treatment) in many areas of life.
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